Destiny Line – Ai no Matador –

Hamasaki Ayumi – Memorial address [1st Mini Album]

Posted on: July 8, 2008

Hamasaki Ayumi’s 1st mini album, entitled Memorial address, was released on 12.17.03. The album features seven songs as well as a bonus track (Memorial address) that further show off Ayumi’s strength at communicating her emotions. The singles released before the album are & (ourselves, Greatful days and HANABI ~episode II~), forgiveness and No way to say.

ANGEL’S SONG opens up the album very nicely. The song starts off with a slightly cool instrumental before the song’s true breezy pop sound comes in. Ayu’s vocals sound somewhat cute here and they work perfectly with the music. The chorus stands out as the instrumentation remains fun and Ayu’s vocals show a little more power. The pure instrumentation section has such a light and fun sound that it stands out to the listener. The following chorus features distortion on Ayu’s vocals to push them into the background and it is an interesting addition to the album.  Pure instrumentation finishes the song off very nicely. ANGEL’S SONG is a great album opener and a standout track on Memorial address.

The album’s summer anthem is Greatful days, a fun pop song that is filled with the sounds of summer. The song starts out with a cool sound before the song’s true sound arrives. Ayumi opens up nicely singing “la la la” repeatedly and following is pure instrumentation. The first verse features some great vocals from Ayumi that really work well with the music to capture the atmosphere of the song. The chorus really stands out to the listener as being very catchy. Ayumi’s vocals sound great with a little more power and the instrumentation remains as catchy as ever. The pure instrumentation section is one of the song’s strongest points as there is a certain atmosphere that really catches the listener’s ear and then comes back to the summer sound with the chorus. The song finishes off with Ayumi singing “la la la,” bringing the song to a great close. Greatful days is Ayumi’s best summer song and is a magnificent piece of this mini-album.

Fully channelling the rock sound is Because of you. A cold and somewhat eerie instrumental opens the song before the aggressive chorus comes in. Ayu’s vocals sound great and capture the anger that the lyrics set forth. Following the chorus is a great section of pure instrumentation that catches the listener’s ear. The verses are sung with softer vocals to put an emphasis on her words and to serve as a perfect contrast to the powerfully sung chorus. The third verse is sung nicely before the song’s section of pure instrumentation comes in, one of the most memorable parts of the song. Ayu repeats lyrics for emphasis before more pure instrumentation brings the song to a fantastic and aggressive close. Because of you is one of Ayu’s stand-out rock songs and a wonderful piece of the album.

ourselves is an aggressive pop song with rock tints that make it one of the album’s strongest songs. The song opens up with a mysterious feel before the more energetic instrumentation comes in. The hook opens up the song’s first vocals and she sounds great here as her vocals bring the song’s lyrical atmosphere to life. The vocals during the verses are sung somewhat deeply but they work very well with the music. The energy that comes from the chorus is what makes the song pop nicely. The hook and the following pure instrumental sequence brings the song to an excellent close. ourselves is one of the most standout tracks on Memorial Address for its interesting sound and great lyrical atmosphere.

HANABI ~episode II~ appears as the next song. The song begins with a very cool sounding instrumental before the song’s true sound comes in. The instrumentation sounds great and introduces the first verse very nicely. The vocals during the verses have a certain fragility to them that project the lyrical atmosphere beautifully. The chorus features some rock elements that add to the song very nicely as well as more great vocals. With this song, there is a true emphasis on the instrumentation as there are long sections that spotlight the interesting music. It also brings the song to a nice close. HANABI ~episode II~ is a very nice addition to the album and is one of the more interesting numbers on Memorial Address.

No way to say is the album’s strongest ballads as well as capturing the sounds of winter wonderfully. The song starts off with a fantastic pure instrumental sequence before the first verse starts. Ayu’s vocals sound great and soft enough to keep with the music. The chorus really stands out as Ayu shows off even more vocal strength and her vocals really capture the song’s emotional quality strongly. The pure instrumental section is a very nice part of the song and re-introduces the chorus very nicely. The chorus following that sounds great as the instrumentation sounds very light and Ayu’s vocals match it perfectly. No way to say is the album’s strongest ballad and a wonderful part of the album.

forgiveness, a piano ballad, is the official ending song of the album. The song starts off with a magical feeling alongside the piano, which nicely supports Ayu’s vocalizing in the beginning of the song. The first verse features some soft and fragile vocals from Ayu that capture the song’s emotional presence strongly. Soon the song picks up as the instrumentation becomes more varied and it builds up the chorus excellently. The vocals during the chorus are great and continue the song’s emotional quality strongly. The song has a magical quality that really comes out on the pure instrumental section beautifully. The final lines of the song are sung in English and feature some pretty powerful words such as “war and destruction” and “every cardinal sin.” forgiveness is an excellent ballad and a wonderful official finish for the album.

Memorial address (take 2 version), the bonus track, brings the emotions to the forefront in this ballad. The piano serves as the sole instrument along with Ayu’s vocals. She delivers her lyrics with a certain rapidity that really works with the music perfectly in capturing the song’s emotion. The chorus continues the emotional presence as Ayu’s vocals continue to portray the song’s atmosphere and the final note is held so beautifully that the listener takes notice. During the second verse, elements of rock present themselves to give the song a little more variety. The following chorus features more aggressive vocals in order to keep with the music and the final note once again is held fantastically. Following is pure instrumentation before returning to the song’s original sweet ballad sound for a moment. The chorus features a return to the rock sound but in order to suit the last two lines of the song, the same emotional ballad sound returns and brings the song to a close. Memorial address is an excellent bonus track that brings the emotions to the listener strongly. Although the song would have been stronger had the rock elements not made it into the song, it’s a great addition to the album and features absolutely beautiful and heartfelt lyrics.

Album Ranking: A +

Hamasaki Ayumi’s 1st mini album is a collection of fantastic tracks which feature interesting instrumentations, beautiful lyrics and great vocals from Ayu. The uptempo numbers such as Greatful days and ANGEL’S SONG show off Ayu’s fun spirit while she emotes strongly on the ballads like Memorial address and No way to say. Truly this album is one of Ayu’s strongest and most memorable.

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